Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Little Birding & Baking & a Lot of Eating!

I'd get up extra early this morning for a little birding before heading home for house hold chores, gardening etc.  I decided to stop at Gate 28 of the Wachusett Reservoir in my ongoing effort of finding an Orchard Oriole.  I'd get there a little before 6:30 and be amazed at how quiet it was compared to one short month ago.   Now that territories are established and nesting in progress, it seems as if the males are making half assed attempts of reminding others whose turf is whose.  Gone are the days one has to stop to decipher  20 songs from different birds, now it's more like 10 with all of them common breeders so they're all familiar.  One highlight would be a Brown Thrasher out in clear view who wouldn't be singing but rather giving its call which was interesting considering I wasn't accustomed to it so appreciated the lesson.

The Field Sparrows would be out and both singing their dawn songs which was a treat to hear as I don't hear it that often as well as a very vocal Northern Flicker and many others.  I'd spend about 15 minutes in one spot searching for an oriole and then decided to explore some and head by the water as I have yet to see a Bald Eagle this year believe it or not.  There'd be no eagle so decided to look in the ponds for another bird I have yet to list- American Black Duck.

And while there were quite a few Mallards and a Green Heron  nearby I'd strike out on yet another bird.  I did spot this Eastern Kingbird nest though.  The picture above is mamma giving me the moon.  I decided to explore a little more and it wouldn't take me long to spot Doe, a deer, a female deer, who wouldn't be hanging out with Ray, but rather a very newly born fawn that was so small and fragile I stood there frozen trying to get a look at them through my bins blocked by tree branches that were in the way.  I'd inch my way closer in hopes for a picture and it would be then the mother would spot me, snorting would pursue as she ran away from both me and my camera.

The fawn was so tiny I couldn't get a clear shot of it as it's somewhere in the grass to the left.  The mother stopped on top of the little hill in the picture and looked at me anxiously then back at her baby as it couldn't keep up with the mother.  Finally the fawn would be by its mother's side, and she'd look at me one more time and off she would go with baby in tow!  I'll be honest and say my heart ached looking at the mother looking at me with such concern in her eyes over the welfare of her baby.  The maternal instinct is such an amazing bond in most living creatures.

It would still be early so decided to head toward Sterling in hopes of finding a mom and pop shop for some chow as I was getting pretty hungry.  About a quarter mile or so from Gate 28, I'd see a sign for fresh eggs and honey and would do a quick You Turn as I knew right then and there what I wanted for breakfast!

And not only would they have fresh honey and eggs but jam too and strawberry no less.  Now I love canning jams and preserves but don't have strawberry in my stash as I don't grow them so I'd grab 2 of those and 1 blueberry as well as a dozen eggs.  I stood there with my purchases waiting for someone to acknowledge me so I could pay and after a few minutes I'd realize that this was an entire self serve process.  The wooden box in the middle is where you finalize the transaction and you put your money in there and off you go!  I'd be amazed at such a concept as it seems so foreign to me, especially working in Worcester where everything gets locked.  Sigh, seriously when I retire I want to retire to the sticks, with plenty of hills, fresh air and good old country charm, I'll leave Florida and the beaches to others as I inhale the mountain air with a belly full of jam and honey.

On my way back from Sterling I decided to go Route 140 through Grafton so figured I'd check out St Philips to see how the Great-blue Herons were doing.  I'd soon find out the quarters are getting a little crowded as the babies are now pretty big as you can see in the photo above.  I honestly believe I saw a touch of annoyance in the mother's face and I can't say that I blame her, HA!  There'd be plenty of other signs of new life including a Wood Duck with 4 ducklings, recently fledged and LOUD Common Grackles and the two Mute Swans with 4 youngins nearby (face palm).

And since it was clear that today was going to be a mother/baby theme, I'd make one more stop in Millbury to check on the Red-tailed Hawks.  I'd be relieved to see two of the juves who appear to be ready to fledge any day now.

After a while the mother would take to the sky as I watched from below.  Looks as if there's a little molt going on in that tail of hers.

As the youngins watched which caused my hear to melt.  I'm convinced she was giving them flying lessons seriously!  So relieved to see they appear viable as I've been very nervous for many young birds this season with the cold, rainy weather we've been having.

Inspired by my stop at the farm stand as well as all the motherly love I witnessed I headed home to do some baking and cooking for me and the boys (and their friends who always seem to be around.)

And this would be the end result.  Cast iron corn bread (the only way to cook it) for that delicious strawberry jam, hickory smoked bacon and of course the farm fresh eggs which were out of this world.

Quite the breakfast if I do say so myself!  Burp.........I had to put the strawberry jam in the way back of the fridge as I could have eaten the entire thing straight from the spoon.  I wish strawberries were easy to grow and may have to pick some up from a farm so I can make some myself to have a taste of June in February which is my favorite time to eat my jams.

And course two would be fresh baked bread of course!  As you can see my vow to give up wheat has been a total failure but hell, how can it not when one has jam!

Another berry freak, this recently fledged American Robin inhaling the mullberries.  The bird's been in my tree all day, and I've had to run after the neighbors orange cat with a hoe after hearing both parents let me know he was near, even with a hoe that cats not afraid of me........

And the perfect way to end a perfect day.  Jalapeno glazed chicken wings, the jelly is from my last years canning obsession, salad fresh from my garden, and the bread I baked earlier in the day with a new beer to try which is Brooklyn Summer Ale which is downright tasty!  I will now retire for the evening and have a couple more beers while watching the Chimney Swifts who seem as happy about the nice weather for a change as I do.  I will do this as a tribute to Chris, just as I always do.

Take care all.


Samuel said...

The nests are awesome!

Kim said...

Thanks Samuel! Love having nests to check on every season. Both the herons and hawks have nested there in previous years so it's a reliable place to get my bird fix.


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